This is my favorite time of year, this golden-aspen-football-pumpkin season that extends to turkey-more-football-pie-gratitude season, followed by the snow-falling-tree-decorating-music-lights-gift-giving season.
The Byrds released a song in 1965: “To everything, turn, turn, turn; there is a season, turn, turn, turn …” Long before the Byrds sang this song, an ancient king, Solomon, penned these words:
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die … a time to mourn and a time to dance … a time to be silent and a time to speak … a time to love and a time to hate …Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
A time of death, loss, mourning: Loss of health or a job, financial setbacks, death of a dream, death of a loved one, a broken marriage, a missed opportunity.
A time of birth, of dancing: The birth or adoption of a child or grandchild, the start of a new career, the blossoming of a new love relationship, an unexpected inheritance, dancing at your daughter’s wedding.
A time to hate: The injustice that causes so much suffering in the world — hate it enough to do our small part in making life better for someone struggling with difficulty.
A time to love and appreciate: To notice and love the people in our lives, to speak appreciation for life itself and all its simple blessings — homemade soup bubbling on the stove, smell of pumpkin scones baking, crunch of autumn leaves, sweet air to breathe, arrangements of geese honking overhead, fireplace and candles lit against falling snow, breaking trail in snowshoes, taste of Chai … actually the list is quite long.
I think maybe what the ancient king was trying to say is that life happens. And if life consists of blending birth with death, joy with sorrow, and dancing with mourning, then maybe we could be more aware of and speak gratitude for the good that settles over us, and not be surprised when the heart-breaking events put in an appearance.
A friend who lost her husband when her children were young shared something her daughter said when she went off to college: “When dad died, it was really horrible and hard. But I like who I became.”
This expresses so well how I feel. The sorrow of losing my first husband to cancer changed my way of life, which I didn’t want changed. But it also changed me, which happened to be a good thing.
Are you in a new season you wouldn’t have asked for? In time, I hope you can say with me, “Though I didn’t want this loss, I’m so grateful for what God grew in me, and I love where He’s placed me in this new and beautiful season.”